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Capraia Island: sea and sport

Itineraries to discover nature and history

Capraia is an evocative island in the Tuscan Archipelago, belonging to the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. For lovers of the sea and sports, you'll find no better place than this island, home to lovely coves, endless hiking trails and crystal-clear waters for dips in the Tyrrhenian. 

Laghetto - Monte Le Penne - Colonia Penale Agricola - Il Laghetto
View of Capraia
View of Capraia - Credit: cremona daniel

This is certainly the most interesting and evocative itinerary on the island. Along the old mule track, through a tunnel and through the thick Mediterranean scrub in Erica and Corbezzolo, you will arrive in Acciattore. This is where you'll find wild rosemary, Asfodelo and interesting Sardinian and Corsican endemisms.

If you turn around, you'll see a wonderful view of the small lake known as “Laghetto,” the only natural water basin in the Tuscan Archipelago. In the springtime, it’s covered in white ranunculus flowers. A small path along the coast leads to Monte Le Penne, which offers great views of Corsica and the other islands.  

At this point, you’re 420m above sea level. Before reaching the rocky cliff of Penne there is a small path that leads from the western coast to the north: this is where the penal colony, the Sella dell'Acciattorela Colonia Penale Agricola, stood for a century.

A beautiful ring itinerary allows visitors to cross the thick and wild Mediterranean scrub to enjoy stunning views of the island. Across the wall that symbolically defined the area of the jail, the pathway leads downhill to the first Lavanderia. From there, the dirt road leads to the port.   

Monte Arpagna – Punta del Trattoio
Zenobito Tower
Zenobito Tower - Credit: Michela Simoncini

The ancient stone multitrack leads to two ancient military buildings: the "Alloggio del Capo," which is a pile of ruins today, and the "Alloggio dei Marinai". In front of the road is the iron building called "Semaforo", located on top of Monte Arpagna. It was once used as a look-out point by the military.  

The views are splendid from Arpagna: the robust Zenobito Tower (1545) is made entirely from laic material from the area. From here, you can also see the outline of Monte Capanne on Elba Island. A rather high section of Mediterranean scrub leads to the Trattoio Lighthouse, where visitors can admire the wild, western coast of the island, the small island of Peraiola, and the grottos of Cala del Vetriolo. From this point, can also reach the seaside at Cala delle Cote.

L’Aghiale – Punta del Dattero
Capraia - Credit: grobery

This is a path made of panoramic hairpin bends that overlook the bay and the town’s port. It leads to the northern part of the island, where the previously-visited penal colony was until 1986. You will pass several areas along the way, like the "Aghiale" that contained the prison cells, the cafeteria and apartments for the guards, the stables, the hen house in the area of Portovecchio, the Ovile and the Large Gardens, with centuries-old, monumental walls. The views from the island are interesting from a naturalistic point of view, but are also characterized by the mystery and solitude that the now-abandoned buildings evoke. From the last "section" of the jail that was built, called Mortola, visitors can walk along a path that leads to Punta del Dattero. From the high, rocky cliff overlooking the sea, visitors can see the island of Corsica, an array of seagulls, bushes of wild rosemary and mint, as well as moufflons on occasion. The best time to enjoy this view is at sunset, especially on June 21, the summer solstice and the most beautiful day of the year.